How To Avoid Bringing Toxins into Your Home
This week I’m addressing the issue of potentially toxic fire retardants in household furniture and other products. A recent exposé by the consumer advocacy organization, Environmental Working Group (EWG), revealed that these carcinogenic chemicals were present in the majority of mothers and their children tested.
So what can you do to avoid these hazardous chemicals? EWG recommends taking a number of steps.
1) Research carefully before buying baby products. These items are exempted from regulations mandating the use of fire retardants, but some manufacturers still use the chemicals. Ensure that you don’t bring home any products for baby’s use that feature toxic fire retardants.
2) Choose a new couch with cushions that have not been saturated with fire retardant chemicals. New regulations make it easier for manufacturers to offer these less toxic versions of furniture, but you may need to contact manufacturers directly to determine which models are chemical-free.
3) If you reupholster your sofa, be sure to replace the foam cushions, too. They probably contain toxic fire retardant chemicals. Ask the shop to use chemical-free polyurethane cushions.
4) When vacuuming furniture, be sure to use a HEPA filter. HEPA-filter room air cleaners may also help remove small particulates from your home air.
5) When removing old carpeting, be aware that padding is often made of recycled urethane foam that probably contains fire retardant chemicals. Consider wearing a mask, cutting air circulation to the room while working, and isolating the room from the rest of the house during removal.
Finally, consider signing EWG’s petition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a national standard that does not encourage the use of toxic fire-retardant chemicals. Visit www.ewg.com to participate.